In which we combat the wicked white stuff with the virtuous white stuff

Understatement of the week:  
I don't like sn*w.
(or ice)

neither does my truck

But while Monica and I waited for the tow truck to come yank my truck out of the weeds the other day, we pounded the icy driveway into submission with rock bars and shovels,

(...and dogs)
and we got to talking.  

And since we were using an un-be-freaking-lieve-able amount of salt on the driveway to soften up the ice, we ended up talking about...salt.

"This is performance salt," Monica told me, pointing to the label.

ingredients: salt

With time on our hands as we pounded the ice, we dipped into our limited knowledge of salt.

"It was used as payment," I offered.  "In ... Rome?   Root of the word salary."

"Electrolytes!"  she said.  "Performance enhancing...?"

We used more than 100 pounds of performance enhancing salt on the driveway and parking area by the house.  Gahh.

So, I got curious.  And when librarians get curious, you know what we do....


Here's what I've learned (so far) from this cool book about salt:

  • It was considered divine in many ancient cultures, and was often associated with fertility (which I found intriguing, given that by salting the driveway, we effectively killed off all the grass and weeds in that space for at least a year) 
  • Salt is used in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, soap, and textile dye.
  • Evil spirits detest salt, and salt protects against the evil eye.
  • In Haiti, salt is essential for bringing a zombie back to life (assuming you haven't already used a chainsaw, one assumes?)
  • If you try to make pickles without salt, you'll end up with really bad-tasting booze.
  • The Egyptians made salt by evaporating seawater from the Nile delta, and used it to preserve food and mummies.  They also figured out how to combine salt and olives to make the olives edible.  
  • The ancient Celts were called "Gauls" by the Romans, from a word that means salt.  They were salt merchants, and also invented the iron rim for wagon wheels, the barrel, and possibly the horse shoe.  (Just to make sure this post belongs in a farm blog...)
  • The Roman soldiers were not always paid in salt (the origin of the word salary) but they sometimes were.  And the Latin word sal became the French word solde, meaning pay, which is the origin of the word soldier.
  • In medieval Europe, salt was used to cure leather, clean chimneys, to solder pipes, glaze pottery, and to cure upset stomachs.

It can't melt soon enough to suit me!

And just think:  we used all that valuable stuff just to get rid of ice that would (eventually) melt anyhow.

UPDATE:  it took a week to melt, even with Performance Salt spread liberally.  And later this week...ahhh.  You guessed it.

Spring cannot come fast enough.


  1. I love that you got a book about salt to learn it's history. I am especially happy to have more "non-essential" information to mull over and pull out at work parties.


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